It seems Martin Cothran at Vere Loqui is indignant about Baylor College pulling the plug on William Dembski’s attempt to establish an Intelligent Design research lab through a university grant. Martin says this is emblematic of a larger problem that science has with ID proponents.
“The opponents of Intelligent Design have for several years now deployed as their chief argument against it that the theory lacks research to support it. But a funny thing always happens on the way to the laboratory–or on the way to the publisher. Baylor’s action takes its place alongside another recent event that shows just how determined are the scientific establishment in particular and the academic gatekeepers in general to squelch any critical reconsideration whatsoever of Darwinism.”
Well, if this were what was happening, I’d be in complete agreement with Martin. There should be critical examination of evolution, and I support publishing any and all evidence that supports the hypothesis of Intelligent Design, along with any other whacko hypothesis anyone wants to throw out there.
However, I’ll make a few points:
1) It doesn’t look like they’re trying to “squelch any critical reconsideration of Darwinism whatsoever.” It looks like they’re trying to squelch the university’s association with a dogmatic creationist and his religious lab. At worst, they’re preventing someone from trying to make a case for Intelligent Design under the banner of their school. Not everything is a microcosm of a bigger problem.
2) This isn’t exactly the Atheist community. Baylor is a Baptist university. Keep that in mind.
3) The university had not signed off on this. When they got wind of it, they decided it should have gone through more than just one guy (Robert Marks) before putting Baylor in a position to be associated with Dembski and Intelligent Design. They’re trying to establish themselves as a top-tier scientific school, and they decided this might not help. (Edit: President Lilly signed off on it, but there’s some question how thoroughly he researched what was going on; the problem came from the Baylor science staff and community, which didn’t know this was happening until it had happened, and they weren’t happy. All indications are that Marks pushed this through to make it happen)
The thing is, you don’t have to study Intelligent Design to critique evolution. As a scientist, look for holes in the evolutionary theory. Make findings, publish them, etc. The problem many scientists have with the ID crowd is the leap from “Here are my questions about evolution” to “Therefore, God, er, um, something must have created everything.” They’re not trying to squelch critiques of evolution; they’re trying to squelch assuming ID is the answer for the questions they raise.